Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stem cell infusion shows promise for treating heart disease (USA)

"After Bernie Treichel had a heart attack in December, she received the standard treatment: angioplasty, in which doctors propped open her clogged arteries with stents. Then she tried something unusual. She signed up for a study in which stem cells are infused into the arm to potentially do what the body can’t do on its own: grow new heart muscle. It's one of seven studies for cardiovascular disease at UW Hospital involving regenerative medicine: the use of stem cells, gene therapy or growth factors to repair damaged tissue. "If it might help my heart heal better or quicker, it was worth a try," said Treichel, a retired nurse practitioner from Oregon who also is exercising more and eating better since her heart attack. University of Wisconsin Hospital didn't offer any such studies until Dr. Amish Raval arrived five years ago. Raval, a cardiologist who heads up six of the seven studies, said regenerative medicine gives hope to the thousands of heart disease patients each year who aren't helped much by angioplasty, surgery or drugs. He said many of the patients eventually die from heart failure, which about 5 million Americans have, according to the American Heart Association" - Wisconsin State Journal

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